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Recovering from a sociopath by living your life

You’re in meltdown.

You’ve come to the conclusion that you’ve been involved with a sociopath, and that everything this person told you was a lie, from the details of his or her life to the proclamations of undying love.

Now it all makes sense. Now you understand how the unbelievable headiness of the whirlwind romance (love bombing) morphed into the silent treatment, unexplained absences and unprovoked rages (devalue and discard).

You have discovered the truth: The person you fell in love with never existed. Everything you saw and experienced was an act designed to exploit you.

You are crushed. Overwhelmed by disappointment and betrayal, the emotional pain is almost unbearable. So you ask, when will this go away?

How long does it take to recover?

The short answer is that it will take as long as it takes. But the important answer is that you don’t have to wait until you are fully recovered before you can live your life.

In fact, living your life helps you recover.

The two-track plan

This isn’t going to be like taking a course, where you attend for a specific length of time and then get your diploma.

It’s also not like going to a doctor when you’re physically ill. You don’t take a pill for a few weeks or months and then feel better.

Recovery from the sociopath is a two-track plan. It is about emotional recovery, and rebuilding your life. The good news is that you can, and should, work on both tracks at the same time. In fact, progress on one track will help you move along the other track.

Conscious decision

Your crucial first step is consciously deciding that you’re going to do what you need to in order to recover.

At first you may not want to. You may be tempted to sweep everything that happened under the rug, assuming that time heals all ills and sooner or later you’ll feel better. That’s possible, but it will take longer than if you do the personal work to recover.

Or, you may skip the work and think you’re feeling better, until something comes along like a new relationship and all the buried pain rises to the surface. It may even sabotage your new chance at happiness.

Here’s another reason to decide to do the work: If you don’t fully recover from the pain inflicted by a sociopath, you are susceptible to falling for another sociopath. Embracing recovery can make a difference for the rest of your life.

Emotional recovery

So, back to the meltdown.

When it comes to your emotional recovery from the sociopathic betrayal, crying is good. Wailing is good. Curling up in a ball on the floor is good. Pounding a punching bag to release your anger is good. Any means of expression that naturally arises is good, as long as it is not destructive to you, other people, your pets or property.

The idea is to get the negative emotional energy out of your system.

Now, this is not pretty. Your friends and family most likely will not have the ability to be around you as you process your emotions. It is simply too distressing for other people, and they will want you to stop. But that’s not your objective. Your objective is to allow yourself to cry and wail until you feel a release.

Therefore, I recommend doing the processing alone. Even if you have a therapist, you may want to save your appointments for talking about what happened and gaining insight. But keep in mind that you can’t talk away your feelings. Even if you understand why you feel the way you do, you still need to process the emotions.

Drilling for oil

This process is like drilling for oil.  You’ll hit a pool of pain, and the black goo will rise to the surface. You do some more drilling, and you’ll hit another pool, which will spout forth. The idea is to keep going until you drain all the black gooey pools of negative energy. Depending on how long you’ve been exposed to the sociopath, you may have many of them, so this can take awhile.

Eventually you’ll discover that one of the black pools is linked to some other experience or belief from earlier in your life one that made you vulnerable to the sociopath in the first place. Finding this is the equivalent of finding a gusher.

This is your objective discovering and releasing the hidden pain that has skewed your perceptions and created a place within you for the sociopath to set his or her hooks. Addressing this issue whatever it is changes everything.

Adding joy

Draining off the pain creates voids within you, holes where the pain used to be. What do you do with them? You fill them with anything that brings you joy.

While you’re in meltdown, this may seem totally bogus. How can you possibly think about joy when your life is falling off a cliff? At least, that was my reaction when I received this advice. Everything was crumbling, and I’m supposed to do something to make me happy?

Well, guess what. It works. Any small activity that brings you an internal smile will do playing with your pets, going for a walk, enjoying a sunset. Filling those voids with little pieces of joy and happiness eventually changes your entire internal structure. Instead of pools of black gooey pain inside, you’ll feel a growing sense of peace.

To read more about this, check out the Lovefraud Recovery Collection.

Living your life

The second track of recovery, as I said, is living your life. Part of this is dealing with the practical and logistical problems created by the sociopath, such as money, your job, your home or your children.

These can, of course, be really big problems, and I don’t want to downplay them. The important point here is that because you’re following two tracks, you don’t need to solve all of these problems before beginning your emotional recovery.  You work both tracks at once.

Again, as you resolve these issues, it’s important to rebuild other areas of your life at the same time. Reconnect with old friends that the sociopath pushed out of your life. Go back to activities that the sociopath made difficult or impossible art, music, gardening, watching old movies, whatever you enjoyed. Or, start new activities.

Be sure to take care of your health. Eat right, avoid drugs and excessive alcohol, and get exercise. In fact, exercise can go a long way towards relieving depression and anxiety. It’s sometimes as effective as medication.

Living is recovery

Your recovery will likely seem uneven two steps forward and one step back. But even halting progress is progress. By putting one foot in front of the other, you’ll keep moving down the tracks both of them.

Life brings opportunities. Perhaps you’ll have an opportunity to make new friends, or get a new job, or move to a new community. If the opportunity feels right, be open to it. You never know where it could lead you.

Living your life the way you want to is recovery.


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56 Comments on "Recovering from a sociopath by living your life"

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Thanks thooper! HUGS! I was like that with that married man years ago. He was SO good at making me think we were SO made for each other and convincing me when he did something that he didn’t mean to or whatever. It really is like an addiction. I had an awful time getting away from him. It took almost 2 years and HE had to move for me to do it. He called me AFTER he moved to another city without telling me! I told him at that point to never call me again. He didn’t. He didn’t care as any sociopath can’t. I just remember so many nights of crying and longing and fear that he wasn’t going to call me again and he wouldn’t answer his phone. They can REALLY get their hooks in you to the degree of being hooked on a drug. I remember!!! Try to understand it’s “normal” to FEEL like you do. The thing is to override your feelings with smart actions. It has taken me all these years to NOT follow my heart if that makes sense. I love the idea of imagining someone coming to you and tell you to tell their story (only it’s your story), going through every detail as if they were telling you and asking for advice and then you answer. That helps bring a little perspective into things. You do NOT deserve this. Another reason for the addiction in my opinion can be a lot of rejection from your past. Not sure if you have it but I sure do. When they start to reject you then a huge heartache comes back and you feel desperate DESPERATE to hold on to them no matter what. Not sure I have helped. Just sharing things that I have been through to hopefully help you.

Linette it helps to know that I’m not abnormal for feeling like this. It of course doesn’t lessen the pain but it helps to know that I’m not alone. I have thought a lot about our relationship and I honestly feel like at one point he was overcoming his sociopathic behaviors. I had introduced him to the Lord and for a brief period of time, just a few months, he was letting the Lord work in him. There were no lies and for the first time he was FEELING. It didn’t last long though because as you know the struggle to do good is much harder than the struggle to do the wrong thing. He gave up and quickly went back to being the sociopath that is comfortable. The hurt and the demons that he was facing was way too painful for someone like him to deal with. I guess after that period of time I had hoped that God would be able to work in him again but he was too far gone again to allow the Lord back in. And yes it is a feeling of desperation for him to want me again. I should have never taken him back after he moved away. I can’t imagine what he has lied to me about that I will never know because he was able to live 4 hours away while still stringing me along. Up until last week had I asked him to move back home he would have in a heartbeat. He would have left everything where he is now and come back to me but now I know what he has been doing behind my back with other women while he’s been there and he won’t admit his wrongs. He won’t even admit to any of it. Since I know how wrong he was he has to play the victim and act like I did all this and hurt him so now he’ll talk to me on the phone but he refuses to see me. I had no intention on seeing him but just to see his reaction I asked him to let me come see him this weekend and for the first time ever he rejected me and told me no because I hurt him too bad. BS.

Just be very careful. I too have a very strong faith in God but I also know that when you are dealing with a true sociopath that they don’t “do better” for a while except perhaps outwardly. Also be careful. He may be rejecting you to manipulate you into being even MORE addicted to him. The smartest thing I ever did was “NO CONTACT”. Yes it hurts. Yes you have VERY rough times. But each day that goes by is easier UNTIL YOU TALK TO OR SEE THEM AGAIN. It’s like then you have to start all over. I do know God can change people but they have to be willing. I pray that God will change my ex but I also am too smart to talk to him or let him in my life in any way EVER again. God gave us sound minds and we need to use them. He never said we needed to take abuse. If someone was black and blue all over everyone would see that we were abused. Just because it’s on the inside doesn’t make it any less painful or less damaging than physical abuse. In face it can be even worse in my opinion. I can’t stress how much these people can use a godly woman (or man) to control her or him with fake faith and love. Mine was very much like that. I didn’t see it until after he had his hooks in me. Now that I look back and horrified at his double personality and COLD ways. He sure could “turn it on” though, around others and around me, if it helped him get what he wanted (control, my commitment, my money, my reputation just by being seen with me at church etc.)

I have implemented the no contact rule because you are absolutely correct when I talk to him the healing process starts all over and takes so much longer. I just have to keep reminding myself that the end is the end. I can either start the healing process now or keep pushing the end away and start the healing process later. Either way it’s inevitable and I have to remember that. It will never be okay with him.

“It will never be ok with him”. Now THAT’S a good short but TRUE thing to keep in your mind as you are tempted! I’d maybe write that down, laminate it and carry it with you!!!!

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